Old Albanians Academy

What is the Academy?

At Old Albanians we believed there was something missing from our setup and that those moving from Juniors to Seniors would benefit from additional support and development.

We have decided to launch a new section of our club dedicated to developing players aged 17 to 23 years old into players who can look towards playing at a National League club.

We have brought together a dedicated team that will drive the Academy forward, through the Academy we will be delivering:

  • Regular training sessions based primarily from our home ground at Woollam’s, St Albans, Herts, but also from other local top class facilities to provide a range of experiences for our players.
  • Matches throughout the year, against a range of opposition including local and representative sides aimed at ensuring good competition for all players within the Academy, whether they’re just starting out at 17, or about to move fully into senior rugby at 23.
  • Training camps where the players will be able to spend a day or two with our team and guests working on a range of areas on and off the field.
  • Additional development support off the field and away from the Academy, whether that’s S&C advice or areas of focus for skill development.
  • Medical advice, both on rehab and as importantly on injury prevention.
  • Opportunities to spend time with players from our 1st XV to learn from their experience.
  • Opportunities to be part of the 1st XV match day, accompanying the squad to matches, being part of the preparation and within the team environment during the matches.

What will I get out of it?

  • Opportunity to develop alongside your regular rugby activities
  • Benefit from from working with an dedicated team and being part of a National League rugby club.
  • Access to S&C and Medical resources outside of the regular sessions and matches.
  • Ongoing development resources for individuals to be able to work on between sessions.
  • Chance the interact with and learn from National League players.

The Team

We have pulled together a dedicated team to run our Academy and ensure that they receive the focus and attention that is required.

The team is drawn together from around the club and is further supported by players and coaches from the 1st XV, as well as other guest coaches from outside of the club.

Eddie Panting

Head Coach

Eddie Panting has been part of Old Albanians on and off since the age of 5, playing all the way through the Mini's and Juniors and eventually spending 12 years in the first team.

Eddie has been coaching rugby for most of his adult life, both as a teacher and at OAs, first in his role as Youth Development Officer and subsequently with the men's section before taking on the Academy role.

Nick Stevens

Forward & Defence Coach

Nick has recently returned to Old Albanians for a second spell at the club having previously been part of the 1st XV squad for 7 years.

An experienced back rower who has recently played for Hertfordshire in the County Championships, Nick is taking on the duties of Forward & Defence Coach.

Rob Kennedy

Team Manager

Rob has been part of OAs since the early 2000's, playing for most of the Senior Men's sides throughout that time.

Alongside this Rob spent much of that time managing sides within the club, notably at Colts level, where his side reached the final of the Colts National Cup.

Ross Hamilton

Coach & Analyst

Ross is one of the longest serving members of the 1st XV and was made 1st XV Captain for the 2017/18 season and again this year.

Working as a Rugby Analyst within professional rugby for the last 5 years as well as a forwards and lineout coach for the 1st XV, Ross will be a regular guest coach for the Academy as well as providing Player Analysis.

Charlie Hughes


Despite appearances, Charlie is the longest serving current member of the 1st XV having joined over 10 years ago.

Playing across the Front Row and working as a Rugby Coach away from the club, Charlie will bring specialist scrum knowledge in his capacity as a guest coach.

Off Field Development & Support

As part of what the Academy will do, we will be providing players with the opportunity to continue their development when they're not with the team. This may include:

  • Mentoring opportunities with senior players and club members
  • Opportunities to be part of the 1st XV on a match day to experience that environment.
  • Strength and Conditioning resources and staff
  • Development assessment and analysis to allow players to work on specific skills.

In addition to the rugby related support, players may also need non-rugby support, which the club will do all it can to support. Examples of how the club may help:

  • CV review and advice
  • Interview techniques and preparation support
  • Networking and business introductions
  • Recruitment introductions

Why Old Albanian RFC?

Old Albanian RFC

Founded in 1924, Old Albanian RFC is an English Rugby Union Club playing in National League Two South for the 2018/19 season. We are a fully open and inclusive community club based at Woollams, the club’s home ground in St Albans, Hertfordshire offering some of the best playing and social facilities in the UK.

The senior club runs four men’s teams, an Adult Ladies side all playing in competitive leagues and in 2018 the club also launched an Academy for 17 to 23 year olds.

The junior club is one of of the largest and most successful Mini’s & Junior’s sections in the country with nearly 1,000 members playing week in week out between Under 5 and Under 18s, including a growing Girls section operating at 3 age groups; Under 13, Under 15 and Under 18.

How can I get involved?

The Academy will be meeting at least once a month for training with matches planned every two months.

If you're interested in getting involved the first step would be to get in touch with the team at academy@oarugby.com, providing us with your name, position and playing experience.

You'll then be contacted by a member of the team about getting involved.

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